December 13, 2016 / 7:25 PM / 8 months ago

ICRC says ready to help in east Aleppo evacuation

People carry their belongings as they flee deeper into the remaining rebel-held areas of Aleppo, Syria December 13, 2016.Abdalrhman Ismail

GENEVA (Reuters) - The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) stands ready to act as a neutral intermediary in an evacuation from eastern Aleppo being negotiated by various parties, a spokeswoman told Reuters on Tuesday.

ICRC spokeswoman Krista Armstrong said in Geneva: "At the moment, the different parties are still discussing the details of this agreement and how it will be implemented. We hope it will materialise and - most importantly - that it will take into consideration the interests of the civilians.

"If the basic humanitarian principles are met, and if the parties are all in favour, we stand ready to act as a neutral humanitarian intermediary and to assist civilians who are in need. We are therefore preparing contingency plans, so we can be able to act fast, if needed," she said.

Civilians being evacuated must be protected and any choosing to stay behind also must be protected, she said, noting that the ICRC was not directly involved in the negotiations.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Louise Ireland

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